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City of Mission opposes census question

At the Mission City Council meeting this week Resolution 1544 was passed, opposing the question of citizenship in the 2020 Census.

According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. Census Bureau will be asking those living in the United States whether or not they are citizens at the request of the Justice Department. This will be the first time this question is asked on the census since 1950.

City of Mission logoHidalgo County has asked all cities located in the county to pass resolutions opposing this question, and Mission is agreeing to do so. Anna Carrillo, the City Secretary, presented the resolution to the council on Monday.

“It’s felt that it will deter residents from responding,” Carrillo said. “It would negatively affect our congressional, state and local representation, as well as funding for programs and infrastructure by and for our continued community’s development.”

Carrillo said that the city may be severely undercounted if this question is put on the 2020 Census. The city will send this resolution to senators and congressmen so they were aware of the area’s wanting the question to be removed.

“A lot of people are going to think, ‘Well, this is more finding to see if I’m here illegal or not,’” Carrillo said. “So this is just saying not to add that question to the census. All the different counties in the state of Texas are doing the same thing.”

Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas also spoke about what adding the citizenship question to the census would do for the City of Mission.

“We should oppose it,” Salinas said. “Because we’re going to lose money when you lose population, you’ll lose money for CDBGs [Community Development Block Grant Programs], for the schools, so this is in opposition.”

The city also authorized the Fire Department to apply for the 2017 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant Program. The department will be applying for nine firefighters. A cost-share of 25 percent will be inferred in the first and second years, and 65 percent in the third year of the grant.

Along with this program, the council allowed the department to apply for the Office of the Governor – Homeland Security Grant Division Rider 30 – First Responder Grant Program. This grant would provide financial assistance to first responder agencies and the replacement of damaged equipment related to security activities.

Three more proclamations were made at the city council meeting, now for the month of May. May was named Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, in order to highlight the dangers of the road and promote awareness and safe driving from motorcyclists and drivers of any other vehicle.

May was also proclaimed Building Safety Month, and National Police Week will be designated for May 13 through 19. Congress and the President have named May 15 as Peace Officer Memorial Day, and Police Chief Robert Dominguez spoke about the importance of police in the City of Mission.

“The members of the police department played an essential role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms of the citizens of Mission, Texas,” Dominguez said. “It is important that all citizens know and understand the problems, duties and responsibilities of their police department.”

Dominguez said that it was crucial that police officers and members of the PD recognize their duty to serve the people of Mission by safeguarding life and property. Additionally, Dominguez brought up the department’s new Behavioral Health Awareness Initiative, which was made available at the Mission City and Police Department websites on Monday, April 23.

“This is designed for the citizens of our community,” Dominguez said. “There’s unfortunately a lot of citizens in our community that have loved ones that have suffered from mental illness.”

The initiative is designed to extract information about people with mental illnesses, so if police received a call for service that has to address a mental health issue, the information given about the individual may be relayed to officers by the dispatchers.

“That will give the officer or officers responding that valuable information they need before they get to the home,” Dominguez said. “So they can know ahead of time what mental condition this person suffers from, what type of medication he’s on, his medical doctors and psychiatrist.”

Dominguez this will allow officers to make more informed decisions when arriving at a scene they were called to.
“I think that this is a good program to reach out to the community,” Dominguez said. “Obviously, this is a positive step forward for our organization in, again, providing that important and invaluable service to our community.”

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